***** Corn futures drop a nickel; soybeans off 1 to 2 cens; Chicago wheat lower by 8 to 13. *****
# Grains settle weaker on the shortened post-holiday session. Fresh news was limited and trading volume light.
# Very strong corn exports were shrugged off by traders on Friday. The weekly report tallied 80 million bushels of new corn sales for the 2015/16 marketing year with another 21 million booked for 2016/17. Soybean sales were about as expected at 43 million bushels while wheat sales were weak at 11 million.
# The two-week weather outlook has temperatures warming up as expectations for precipitation run below normal. This forecast follows what will have been a very wet week across the Midwest. Icy conditions are an issue for logistics in the Plains states this week.
# A new ‘Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries’ has been formed by industry players in Indonesia and Malaysia. Members of the council will look to team up in an effort to manage production and marketing of palm oil in the region.
# Soybean plantings in Brazil are about two-thirds complete. Dry weather in Mato Grosso has been in the way of planting efforts in recent weeks and causes growers to be behind their usual pace. Weather is expected
# A strong dollar helped weigh on grain prices Friday. Index futures were trading above 100 as investors price in expectations for higher U.S. interest rates and further measures of monetary stimulus in Europe.
# Large U.S. oil inventories continue to weigh on energy markets. Wednesday’s report found domestic stockpiles growing by another 1 million barrels on the week. WTI crude futures were trading weaker by $1 for most of the session.
***** Live cattle trade higher by $0.10 to $0.77 as feeders climb $0.27 to $0.97; hog futures drop $0.05 to $0.72 with relative weakness in the deferred months. *****
# Cash markets had not developed with any trend by midday and are unlikely to become active as the week closes out. Wholesale beef values were firmer to help prop up the front of the futures curve.
# Direct hog markets were quiet at the week’s end. Pork cutout was a touch lower by midday. February futures were contending with resistance from the 20-day moving average.
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